Text by Adam Lehrer
Before I continue, I should mention that I really don’t listen to extreme music with the same regularity that I once did. When I was about 20 to 22 years old (2009 to 2011 or so) I was living in Tucson, studying creative writing, and carrying a major chip on my shoulder. I was wearing black exclusively (even in punishing Arizona heat), watching horror films, reading Anton Lavey, using hard drugs, and listening to the most extreme forms of music that I could find: harsh noise, death metal, power electronics, power violence, dark ambient, and lots and lots of black metal. It was fun for a while, but I lacked the pervasive sense of unhappiness to really commit to that lifestyle. So I moved on, or back, to other forms of music that I loved: hip-hop, dance music, psychedelic rock, jazz, punk, etc.. But an appreciation for the explorers of extreme sound has persisted.
So, while introducing this new playlist, “Second Wave of Black Metal,” I would like to talk about neo black metal band Deafheaven and their new record, ‘New Bermuda.’ Metal traditionalists have called this band a slew of ugly names largely consisting of barbs aimed at their hipsterdom or perceived upper middle class backgrounds. Not only is the assertion that these guys are rich kids false, it’s also ridiculous. To say that only certain types of people can make certain types of music is classist and beneath us. I despise when people tell me that they hate Drake because he isn’t “hard enough.” What does his hardness have to do with his music? To say only people that grew up poor and in gangs can make hip-hop is beyond reductive and would have robbed us of a great pop music talent. Drake is a monumental talent, and I am glad he makes music. Good music is good music, regardless of who is making it and where they are from.
That being said, I don’t think Deafheaven is that solid of a band, period. Black metal in 2015 feels boring regardless of its creators. The world has moved past double bass kicking drums and agonized screams. These guys may love the music, but it’s just not as powerful as it once was when black metal was new. The second wave of Norwegian black metal was a fiercely experimental and exciting wave of new music. My belief in this fact has nothing to do with the makes of this music actually burning churches. It is that the music excites me. That is what we judge artists by: their art. Not their backgrounds or their authenticity as perceived by you.
Adam Lehrer is a writer, journalist, and art and fashion critic based in New York City. On top of being Autre’s fashion and art correspondent, he is also a regular contributor to Forbes Magazine. His unique interests in punk, hip hop, skateboarding and subculture have given him a distinctive, discerning eye and voice in the world of culture, et al. Oh, and he also loves The Sopranos. Follow him on Instagram: @adam102287. FOLLOW AUTRE ON INSTAGRAM TO STAY IN TOUCH: @AUTREMAGAZINE